REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL
After Jesus Christ had been tried and tested by the devil and had overcome him; he came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, the time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel. (Mark 1: 12-15) The book of Matthew, Chapter 4 gives a more detailed account of that temptation by the devil, who was trying to cause Jesus to sin and therefore disqualify him from being able to be our savior. Thank God that Jesus did overcome the devil!
The word gospel is a Greek word that means good news, or glad tidings. What was the good news that Jesus was preaching? Jesus’ gospel message was about the Kingdom of God, and the fact that now the king of that kingdom was here in the flesh, and was teaching those whom God was calling; (that is those to whom God was personally involved with, and drawing their minds and hearts to truly believe his word, and had given them “ears to hear,”). Jesus was teaching those twelve men among others and preparing them to be sent forth as apostles to continue the teaching and preaching, and publishing of this gospel throughout the world. Those whom God would call would be able to, therefore, receive and believe this hope and be converted to be the first-fruits harvest of people into the family and kingdom of God. These “called” people could now have the opportunity to actually believe in the Son of God, and believe his message, which is the Gospel, and repent of their disobedience to God’s Law and way of life, and to be forgiven, and to submit to obey God, so that they also may be able to qualify by God’s grace to be a member of that royal Spirit born family, or the Kingdom of God. Remember, real faith in Christ is a gift from God.
Many people, including the Jews of Jesus’ days, erroneously thought that Jesus was going to try establishing that kingdom, and begin ruling during his physical lifetime. This is the reason that Herod the king of Judea had sought to kill Jesus while he was just a newborn child. (Matt. Chapter 2) In truth, Jesus was only training and preparing his apostles whom God had drawn to him; so that they could continue to teach and preach the good news about the kingdom, and baptize and teach the way of life that God requires his saints to live, so that they may have part in that kingdom, which would not be taking over the rule of the earth until Christ’s second coming, which would be about 2000 years later. Jesus had come, at his first coming, as a Lamb of God to be sacrificed, to pay the eternal death sentence that we all have earned by our sins. (Isaiah Chapter 53: 1-12)
Those who will be the Spirit born kings and priests who will rule with and under Christ over the entire earth (Rev. 2: 26, 27); they are now being called and converted deep in their hearts to the way of God’s love, and his commandments. At Jesus Christ’s second coming, in Great Power and Glory; these first-fruit saints (Christians) will be resurrected to eternal Spirit life in Glory and Power also, and they with Christ, will rule over and re-educate the earth’s people for one thousand years in the true and right way to live; the way that will produce good and desirable end results. (Rev. 20: 6)
To qualify to be born again at Christ’s second coming, and to be given eternal life as a son or daughter of God; we must first learn to live the way that God lives so that we all can live together in peace and harmony, and also so that we will have developed the righteous character so that we will not abuse and mistreat others with the power that God plans to give us. This has continually been a big problem with the kings and priests of this world.
Jesus did much teaching about the way that we must live in obedience to God and his Holy Laws, The Ten Commandments; so that we may truly be able to have real and lasting peace with each other. (Notice Matt. 19: 16-21), (1 John 2: 3-6), (1 John 5: 1-3) It takes the love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit in us so that we can truly fulfill the keeping of the Holy Commandments of God. (Romans 5: 5), (2 John 1: 4-6) Godly love is necessary to truly keep those commandments. Jesus fulfilled the law, perfectly keeping those commandments, and set us an example that we also should follow in his footsteps. (1 Peter 2: 21-25)
The way of living in obedience to those Ten Commandments of God, and having the Godly love that will enable us to truly live that way; is the only way that will allow us to truly have a spiritual environment to live in, where peace and harmony with each other and with God is possible. When we violate God’s Commandments; there can be no peace and unity with God or man. The Love of God is what we must receive from God in the form of the Holy Spirit so that we can truly stop violating God’s Commandments, and start living in harmony with God and man. God will give his Holy Spirit only to those who have heard, and truly believed this Gospel; and also truly repented of their disobedience to God, and repented of their sinful deeds against other people.
When a person truly does surrender his life over to be a living sacrifice to God and truly is willing to let God and Jesus Christ be his Lord and master whom he will truly obey; then God will beget him with a small measure of the Holy Spirit, (the very earnest of the Spirit, 2 Cor. 2: 22, and 2 Cor. 5: 5) which will start leading him in the way of God, and His righteousness. God’s way and the law is Righteousness because it is the way that produces good and right end results, according to God’s loving purpose for our lives. His purpose is that we become his own sons and daughters, having his own holy nature and character, which we have willingly chosen to develop by following the lead of God’s Word and Holy Spirit, even while resisting temptations to yield in to sin; and thereby we will be growing in the holy nature of God; growing into holy sons of God. We true Christians are expected to grow to the very stature of Christ, our Lord, and Savior. (Ephesians 4: 13-15) As the scripture says in John 1: 12; those who truly believe him God will give the power to become sons of God. I also must declare to you all, that if you truly do believe Jesus Christ, you will also yield to obey him and God the Father. Anyone who refuses to obey Christ, also must not truly believe his teachings. There is no other real purpose for your life and existence other than that good news that our Lord taught and teaches. Those that do truly believe Christ knows that our hope in the Kingdom of God is a true treasure, and is worthy of selling all that we have so that we may have it, even as the parable of our Lord teaches. (Matt. 13: 44)
The way that God lives, is the way of outgoing, unselfish love. We must learn to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul, and we must learn to love our fellow humans as we love our own selves. (Matthew 22: 37-40) The great spiritual law, the Ten Commandments teaches us how that love, works. If we love God we will obey his Holy Commandments. If we love our neighbor, we will be obedient to those laws. If you will study the Ten Commandments, you will see that they are given to us by a loving God who desires that we all can live together in peace and harmony, and not committing offenses against the wellbeing of others. Transgressing the Commandments of God is what sin is. (1 John 3: 4)
The natural nature of man is selfish, greedy, vain, deceitful, and lustful. The natural nature of man cannot be truly obedient to God and his laws, so men live in sin and simply try to cover-up and hide their offenses against the ones that they, for whatever selfish purpose, feel the need to have their trust and respect, in order that they may be better able to get what they desire from them. Sin divides people against each other and does away with any possibility of real peace and unity. Sin also causes all of the pain, grief, heartache, strife, division, suffering, war, and destruction that this earth is plagued with. It is because of sin that marriages in this world end in divorce. Sin causes all of the evil results that come from broken families, and neglected, improperly reared children. The way to real peace and happiness is the way of love to God above all, and love to your fellow humans equal to love of your own self.
As I said earlier, the natural nature of humans is not loving, but selfish, and cannot properly love God, and cannot properly love neighbor. As a result of man’s sinful nature, we have all experienced the evil of others against us. We have also all done evil against others. There are no grounds for peace with such wrong behavior from people. God will not give eternal life to such people. (Galatians 5: 14-21) Contrary to what false Christianity of this world teaches; in the end, we will all be judged by our works, good or evil. “And behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Blessed are they that do his commandments that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.” (Revelations 22: 12-15)
Sin doesn’t stay the same; it grows and gets worse. The longer mankind lives, the more knowledge he acquires about physical things. With every invention, or idea, there is usually some benefit to mankind, but the new inventions and technology are also put to greater evil use against man. If man were allowed to live forever in a sinful state of mind and character, they would cause indescribable pain, suffering, and destruction to the whole creation. God will not allow that to happen. So God has determined that the wages for sin are death. (Romans 6: 23) That is not just talking of the first natural death which is appointed to all men, but the second death which is eternal death. (Rev. 20: 11-15)
Now the good news is; that man can be redeemed from his sinful nature, by a wonderful process that God has devised which we refer to as salvation. The Word of God was made flesh, born of a virgin, and of the seed of King David, of the tribe of Judah, which was the God-chosen ruling tribe of Israel. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit of God and was able to avoid sin even though he was tried and tested even as we are. (Hebrews 4: 15) Because he overcame sin and never yielded into his fleshly nature, and never yielded into Satan the devil’s temptations; he, therefore, qualified to become our savior in this process of salvation. Jesus proved that it is possible for a man to avoid sin, and overcome the devil’s temptations when he is filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Now for us to overcome our sinful nature, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. But, we have all deserved death because we have all sinned and come far short of the great glory of God and his righteousness. We need a savior who would be able to prove himself sinless in his fleshly life, and then be willing to be put to death to pay for our deserved death. Jesus, the Christ, the son of God has done that for us. He was put to death because of our sins, and not for himself. Jesus has paid our death penalty for us if we sincerely repent of our sinful nature. (Romans 5: 10), (Hebrews 10: 10), (Isaiah 53: 1-12)
To repent of our sinful nature, and deeds; means that God has caused his Holy Spirit to act on our minds to grant us ability to view our sins and the hurt that they cause more from God’s perspective, and therefore to be able to truly hate our sins, and have a strong desire to quit sinning. God cares about all of his people and desires goodness, peace, and life for all of his people. God hates to see his people doing evil deeds against each other, even as a good father would hate to see his own children harming each other. A good father loves all of his children and desires that they all can get along with each other, and care about one another.
True repentance means that we hate our sins so much that we are willing to totally surrender our lives to God, and let him lead us out of our sinful behavior, and into his way of love and peace. True repentance means that we have a deep desire to be able to overcome our sinful nature so that we will not willfully or deliberately and intentionally disobey God and his Commandments any longer. True repentance means that we are willing to respect, and honor our Father in heaven and his Son Jesus, enough to start being obedient to his wise and loving way of life; which is summarized by his Holy Commandments. True repentance means that you are tired of trying to run your own life according to your own ways, which only produce bad, and undesirable results. True repentance means that you are honestly willing to start keeping God’s Sabbaths; even though that means that you will be “sanctified” (set apart from other people for God’s special purpose) even though you will be persecuted for being obedient to God, and keeping his Sabbaths. God will allow us to be tried and tested, but he will also stand up strong in the behalf of his children who love and obey him.
When a person has truly been called by God, and brought to repentance of his or her sins, and has heard and believed the Good News about the Kingdom and Family of God, which we may be actually begotten as a son of God, (Romans 8: 15-17) and born again into it at Christs second coming; then that person should be baptized by one of God’s servants. Then after baptism, and the laying on of hands, God has promised to give that person the gift of a small measure of the Holy Spirit. God only gives us a small measure of the Holy Spirit at first, because he wants us to prove that we will sincerely follow the lead of the Holy Spirit to keep the Commandments of God. God will not force you to become righteous by suddenly filling you with the Holy Spirit of God and thereby taking away your free choice in the matter. God gives us the option to willingly follow the lead of the Holy Spirit into righteousness and overcoming the temptations of sin. God expects us to grow in God’s grace, (2 Peter 3: 17-18) by our own free choice, because we love God and his way of living, and we desire to have the hope that God has set before us. That is the only real purpose for our lives; God’s purpose to make us his own sons. Real, true Christians love God and his purpose for our lives enough to yield to him, and let him correct us, and form his own holy character in us, by our own free-willed, and continuous, every day, every hour, every minute choice. We must love it enough to sacrifice all else for it like the parable of the man who found a treasure in a field, then went and sold all he had so he could buy that field and have that treasure. (Matthew 13: 44) Those who have truly believed the Gospel know also that, just as Jesus said; the kingdom of God and our hope in it truly is a treasure that we love, and are willing to trade in all that we have, so that we may have this treasure that God offers to us, who can believe and appreciate it.
God desires for us to deliberately and willfully choose to obey him and his law, every step of the way, so that we resist our carnal human nature, and submit to the lead of the Holy Spirit which helps us to grow in the holy nature of God. If you truly do believe the gospel, that incredible, wonderful purpose that God has purposed for your life; then you will yield yourself to the lead of the Holy Spirit, and little by little overcome your sinful nature. The Holy Spirit will not drag you, or force you to do the right thing, but it will unite with your human spirit and help you to have the motivation to resist temptation and help you to have a desire to do the right thing. (Romans chapter 8) If you in a time of weakness yield in and sin; the Holy Spirit will be grieved, and your Spirit-led conscience will be grieved to know that you have allowed yourself to sin. (Ephesians 4: 30) If you do sin and are grieved enough to repent and turn sincerely to God for forgiveness, and power to overcome this weakness, then he will forgive and help to strengthen you.
Rather than just forcing us to behave in a righteous manner, God wants us to become like him; having Holy righteous Character that we have willingly chosen to develop, by resisting temptations, and doing the right thing, even while being tempted to do the wrong. No one forces God to live by his way of love; he lives that way because of his loving nature, wisdom, understanding, and character. God knows that it is the only way that will ultimately produce good and desirable end results. That is the way to know if a thing is good or evil; by examining the long-term end results of it. God desires that his children also be as he is; with Holy righteous character so that we don’t need someone greater than us to force us to do right, but we will do right because righteousness is in our own hearts, and we choose to do right. Also, as we yield to the lead of the Holy Spirit, we grow in the nature of God, and we will eliminate the sinful human nature that we had before. As we get rid of the sinful nature, God will give us more of his Holy Spirit so that we can continue to grow in God’s precious gift until we are completely holy as God is Holy.
At the end of our lives in this world, we should be prepared so that God can trust us with eternal life and power in his kingdom and family. God will not give eternal life to people who prove that they prefer to continue in the sinful and selfish way that causes all of mankind’s strife, division, hurt, pain and suffering, and destruction. When God calls us, he expects us to have such respect for his wonderful plan for our lives that we are willing to submit to his authority and let him beget us with his own Holy Spirit, and word of truth, and lead us to overcome our former sinful nature, and to grow in the holy nature of God. (James 1: 18), (Romans 8: 14-16)
Most people who have lived and died in this world have not yet been given a calling from God yet, but when they are resurrected back to mortal life in the last Great Day Judgment, then the books of the word of God, the Holy Bible will be opened to their understanding, (Rev. 20: 11, 12), (Ezekiel Chapter37) and they will learn of this wonderful good news. God’s Book of Life will also be opened, so that they may also be able to have their names written in it, even as those that God had called in their first life to be the first fruit harvest of saints, (true Christians in this present age).
God created man in his own image for a very special reason. God intends that we learn the results of sin, which Adam and all of us have chosen to experience; and then be delivered out of sin, if we are willing to truly repent, and surrender to Christ as our Lord and Master; to let him be our leader and guide to overcoming our sinful nature, and therefore qualify to be a very son of God, born again as a God being with Holy Character that we have willing developed by following the lead of the Holy Spirit and Word of God, even while facing trial and temptations.
What God has in store for his Spirit born family is Wonderful beyond words to describe. (1 Cor. 2: 9, 10), (Romans 8: 18-21) The more that we get to know God, and his wonderful works and deeds, the more we can grasp what God has in store for us who love and obey him; for our destiny is to become a God being, a true spirit-born Son of The Great Creator God!
“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.” (1 John 3: 2, 3)
What must we purify ourselves from? Read the next verse: “Whosoever commits sin, transgresses also the Law; for sin is the transgression of the Law.” (1 John 3: 4) This is not speaking of man-made law, but the Spiritual Law of God, the Ten Commandments. The love of God that we receive by the Holy Spirit that God gives to lead his obedient children will lead us to keep the commandments of God. (Galatians 5: 22), (Romans 13: 8-10) If we truly are led by the Holy Spirit, we will be led to keep the commandments of God. “For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5: 3)
The Ten Commandments is a spiritual law which God gave to govern our spiritual relationships with God, and to govern our spiritual relationship with each other, so that we may all dwell together in unity and peace. There can be no peace when we are violating each other with adulteries, thefts, lies, murders, covetousness, and such the like. Children can also not learn how to properly treat each other, unless they first are taught to respect, honor, and obey their father and mother. God is our greatest and oldest and wisest Father who we must first learn to fear (Respect) and honor, and obey. God commands us to not take his name in vain for our own good, that we may be taught to reverence our great, wise and loving Creator God, and our Father, so that he can help us to become like him and his son, Jesus Christ, having holy righteous character. God commands us to remember and keep holy his Sabbaths, for our own good; that we may honor our Father and come before his presence when he calls for us to, that we may be taught and instructed in his righteousness, knowledge, and wisdom, by his chosen teachers, who obey him. All of God’s Commandments are for our own good, and they are holy, just, righteous, and good. “And this is love that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, that, as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.” (2 John 1: 6)
So now in conclusion of this article, I ask again: If you believe the Gospel of the Kingdom of God; and if you desire to have a part in that kingdom as a son of God; then what should you be purifying yourself from? We should be purifying ourselves from any thoughts, attitudes, or behaviors that are contrary to the Godly love that will lead us to keep and fulfill the Holy Commandments of God. We should be filling our minds with the true knowledge of the word of God, so that we may understand, and live by it. “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matt. 4: 4)
My friends, God is Real and Almighty, and he inhabits eternity; yet he will hear your prayers if you will submit to him in sincere honesty, and seek his will so that you may obey him, and truly follow the example and teachings of his son, Jesus Christ. The Creator of the vast heavens and the earth did not create us in vain; he created us to become his own holy children, whom he desires to have a good close, loving relationship with for all eternity. God bless those who can believe and love this truth! This truly is Good News!
After a person truly does receive the faith that God gives to those whom he is calling, then that person can and should read and study the truth, and truly seek God’s help in coming to real sincere repentance of his sins and sinful nature. When a person has truly repented of his sins, and also truly believes this wonderful good news, (gospel) then that person should do as Jesus instructs us to do; “count the cost”. To be a disciple of Christ, we must not let our love for anyone or anything hinder us from following Christ. (Luke 14: 26-35) (Note: Jesus does not want us to “hate” our earthly families, but to love less than Christ.) After truly counting the cost, then if you are willing to dedicate the rest of your life to truly obey and follow God and Christ, even if it means that your own family will turn against you; then you should have one of God’s true servants baptize you in water, in the name of Jesus Christ and God our Father, (as a symbol) for the remission of his sins. God will then beget that person to be his child by putting his Holy Spirit in that person to lead him in the way of God and his law. (Acts 2: 38) Romans Chapter eight is a very good source of study to understand the begetting and leading power of God’s Holy Spirit.
This world is full of false teaching in the name of Christianity, and I must warn you not to follow men who preach contrary to this true gospel of Jesus Christ. If they don’t obey all of the Ten Commandments of God and teach others to do so; then they are certainly not God’s ministers. They are deceived and are deceiving others. Remember also that a deceived person does not know that he is deceived, or else he would not be deceived. In truth, only God and his Word can make you able to know the difference. This whole world has been deceived. (Rev. 12: 9) God does purpose to undeceive this world soon, through his two witnesses, whom he has chosen to rightly represent him and his true doctrine and teachings. When God does finally pour out his wrath on the wicked who refuse to repent and obey him; they will be left without excuse; for God will make sure that they know what he expects of them, and that he truly is Almighty God. (Rev. Chapter 11) You should also examine my article, titled: THE WORK OF God’s TWO WITNESSES. I also recommend that you search the internet, find and read the late, Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, titled: THE INCREDIBLE HUMAN POTENTIAL. That book is an in-depth look at the real purpose and plan that God has for your existence and life. I personally found it to be the most exciting and wonderful good news that I had ever heard, in my entire life, and it is true!
If this writing has been effective in leading you to Christ and his truth, then I call on you to: Repent and Believe the Gospel that you may partake of that wonderful hope that God has set before us.
In Christ’s service, Gary Stowers